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2008 Air Race Classic 'flight log'

June 24, 2008

by Meghan Burlager and Betsy Taylor

ABERDEEN, S.D.--Greetings from South Dakota! We're not as far east as we had hoped to be, but it'll do for the first day of the race.

The weather was great thus far, but storms were popping up in Iowa so we decided to stop here. We have thorougly investigated the situation and the winds will be better in the morning. But, like weathermen, we are completely guessing.

We woke up this morning very, very early for the start of the race. They gave us breakfast, but we didn't eat much because of nerves. Watching everyone start up was crazy, and we all taxied as a group, staggered like the A-10's out of Battle Creek. When we were told to takeoff (Bozeman is a towered field), we couldn't believe how much runway was used on ground roll. Hello density altitude.

We took off within seconds of each other, we were cleared onto the runway before the airplanes were out of the way ahead of us. The goal was to keep us close together to maintain visual separation. The direction of the wind sent us through the Bozeman Pass, and it was so cool to see the mountains all around us while watching Air Race Classic planes ahead and behind.

The Cirrus [plane] is pretty fast, so we easily passed a good percentage of the racers. Miles City, Mont., was hectic. It looked like a smaller O'Hare. There were people taking off, doing flybys, and taxiing back on the runways we were using. It was definitely a high-intensity situation and was quite different from what we are used to. Let's call it a learning experience. These ladies are crazy.

We made it to Aberdeen and decided to stay the night and pray for good weather and winds. We had an awesome tailwind on the way. Our cruise ground speed at one point was 185 knots, which is good considering our handicap is 140 knots.

We have an early start tomorrow. The first bus to the airport leaves at 5 a.m., and the time zone changes are a killer.

Meghan Burlager and Betsy Taylor
#32 on the tail and #1 in your hearts

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Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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